Monday, 17 February 2014

Flooding update

A comment relayed on wattsupwiththat postulates another reason the severity of this year's and last year's floods in Somerset and once again, the finger points at the EA and their absurd plan to "rewild" the levels. To those still convinced of the blamelessness of the EA, their policy map must be somewhat of a disappointment.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Well, as celebrity flooding victim Julian Temperley (who was on C4 news just now) said in The Telegraph:

"This reluctance to dredge is about as ridiculous as me telling MPs in London to take down the Thames Barrier, pull down the Embankment, and let the Thames flood Soho as it pleases.

The Somerset Levels, just like London, are a man-made environment; the River Parrett was not put where it is by God but by man."

Bayard said...

He's a sleb is he now? Of course I knew when he was a mere purveyor of undrinkable cider.

DBC Reed said...

The map is an option document (No6) not a formalised plan. The other guy who goes on at some length about the drainage done by ROF Bridgwater (4.5 million gallons a day) is more to the point. As I said British Cellophane consumed 1.5 million gallons a day from the Durleigh Reservoir commissioned by my grandfather in the 30's. Both operations were discontinued to ill-effect.More reservoirs are needed (the Huntspill River is basically a long thin reservoir)possibly in a formation similar to the Norfolk Broads (also man- made boosting tourism).
This continuous attempt to pin everything on the EA is manic and futile: dredging the rivers by 15% is no use when the rainfall has increased by 60%. Part of the system is rhines under the control of the Internal Drainage Boards; it would be as sensible to get them to increase the depth of these by 100%, doubling the water stored.

Mark Wadsworth said...

OK, "celebrity flooding victim" might be a bit harsh, but somebody has got to stand up for these people and if he steps up to the oche, so be it. He can be like the Dee White of Somerset farmers.

Bayard said...

"This continuous attempt to pin everything on the EA is manic and futile"

No, not everything. They don't control the weather. There would always have been flooding. It's the duration and severity that's their responsibility. There has been the same amount of rainfall in the past with considerably less flooding.
The map is not an "option", it comes from a policy document, the "Parret Catchment Flood Management Plan" and what you call "options" are headed "policy". Thus the policy of the EA was, as stated by them in their plan, to allow the levels to flood. To this end they discontinued dredging and decommissioned pumps - and yet you say they are not at fault in any way.
I'm certainly not attacking the EA, as you have implied many times, because it is a public body. If Wessex Water was still responsible for drainage and had abnegated their responsibilities quite as badly as the EA have done, I'd still blame them for the damage they had undoubtedly caused, regardless of the fact that they are a private company. In fact more so, for what the EA have done through pursuing misguided policies, WW would have done out of greed.

Robin Smith said...

I think the state should fully pay for all flood damage out of public funds, no question.

In exchange for a lien on the property of that area. By state mortgage or when the property next sells with interest.

True, the property fall to its real value in the morning all through the higgling of the market.

DBC Reed said...

I have read the Parrett CFMP; its well laid out and easy to follow.People should go through it to judge who is right about the EA.
There is much in it about Internal Drainage Boards and their responsibility for surface water and is totally about avoiding flooding.Only the most malicious would attack them for opting in extreme cases for certain uninhabited areas flooding rather than Taunton
and Bridgwater.Clearly if it comes to a hard choice between directing water through sluices to the Kings Sedgemoor Drain away from large towns,then sane people would opt to save the towns (which BTW haven't flooded recently: no mention of Taunton which I did n't realise was so vulnerable).
I do n't know where all this wild talk about "rewilding" of wetlands comes from : certainly not the EAs CFMP (In certain places rewilding has worked for instance Otmoor ,outside Oxford scene of the last enclosure riots in recognisably modern times {1830's] when the usual maniac banked up the Ray to stop it flooding only for the courts to find in favour of the locals who depended on keeping ducks and geese on the wetlands.It has now reverted to wetland pretty much entirely through the failure of the enclosures to stop flooding.)

paulc156 said...

Just reading Monbiot's latest and he lays out a good case for blaming our coalition government for the Somerset debacle. Despite all the howling about dredging amongst the communities themselves it sounds at best marginal to the severity of the flooding. Removing obligations pertaining to maize farming [which has increased a thousand fold since the 70's]to ensure, and I quote Mon:
" Ground cover crops should be sown under the maize and the land should be ploughed, then resown with winter cover plants within 10 days of harvesting, to prevent water from sheeting off.". This as a condition for for subsidies. Removed by the coalition in it's 'bonfire of regulations' and demoted to merely 'advisory' status. From these very same maize fields with their degraded soil and compacted fields, the mud/silt now pours down into the river Parrett. This doesn't seem like an argument against dredging as such but more like one for focusing on the elephant in the room that is land management.

Mark Wadsworth said...

PC, yes, we agree with George on that one, but he seems to take a dim view of farmers generally and goes a bit too far.

Bayard said...

DBCR Have you ever looked at a map of Somerset? Your "uninhabited areas" contains one town, Langport, and numerous little villages.
You seem to be basing your arguments, despite much evidence to the contrary, on one "fact": that the EA can do no wrong, because it is a public body. Even the Pope is no longer considered infallible: I think you should allow a little more for human frailty amoungst our public servants.

DBC Reed said...

.I do not dispute that choices are made to avoid flooding large towns like Taunton and Bridgwater: that is the nature of the situation.Are you proposing that floodwater should be spread evenly over the entire landscape regardless of relative population densities?
That Taunton go under to save little villages?
The insurance companies (private sector) are not going to buy that one.
You have signally failed to pin responsibility on the EA for, as you keep repeating, not doing enough dredging of rivers.